Written on: February 1, 2017 by Doug Raymond
Canada takes the front spot this month. On Nov. 26, 2016, the Dept. of the Environment and the Dept. of Health in Canada released a proposed regulation on the use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). This regulation affects pressurized containers, refrigerants, air conditioning in automobiles, plastic foam, one-component rigid foam products and rigid foam products. The regulations as proposed affect imported pressurized containers that contain HFCs if the global warming potential is greater than 150.
You guessed it! The regulation, if passed as proposed, prohibits the use of HFC 134a in all pressurized containers as of Jan. 1, 2018. Some exceptions are listed below:
Subsection (1) does not apply to pressurized containers containing:
(a) a mold release agent;
(b) a spinneret lubricant or cleaning agent used in manufacture of synthetic fibers;
(c) a document preservation agent;
(d) a lubricant or cleaning agent for electrical equipment or electronic components;
(e) a duster agent used on photographic negatives and semiconductor chips;
(f) a lubricant or cleaning agent for aircraft maintenance;
(g) a pesticide used near electrical wires, in aircraft or a certified organic-use pesticide;
(h) a stench gas used in mines; or
(i) a cooling agent used for testing electronics and electro-mechanical systems.
This appears to be very similar to the original U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) program exceptions. The aerosol industry worked very hard to get more products exempted with EPA and will have to do the same thing on this rule. Unfortunately, there is not much time—comments on this rule are due Feb. 9, 2017.
At the very least, industry should try to get the same exceptions to the Canadian rule that we got from the SNAP rule.
Dept. of Toxic Substance Control (DTSC)
DTSC is becoming very active on several topics:
DTSC is moving ahead quickly on these issues after nearly a year of slow movement.
An industry meeting was held in January with California Air Resources Board (CARB) staff on the guidance document concerning di-limonene compounds in cleaning products. A 1996 Enforcement Advisory had stated that compounds that were not solely in a product to impart a fragrance were not counted under the 2% fragrance exemption. Instead, those compounds, if volatile organic compounds (VOCs), were counted toward the VOC limit.
In 2016, CARB is issued guidance clearly stating di-limonene used in cleaning products would be counted as VOCs even if used in the fragrance. There has been much discussion on this issue.
In the meeting were CARB rule writers, lab personnel and enforcement. From the aerosol industry were marketers, fillers and the Fragrance Associations. Much discussion was had with industry offering to bring back language to clarify this issue. More to come on this.
On Dec. 30, 2016, CARB released its Reporting Tool for Multi-purpose Lubricants, available at: https://www.arb.ca.gov/consprod/regact/2016mpl/2016instruction.pdf
The Reporting Tool is similar to the CARB survey that has been conducted for the last three years. The report is mandatory for all responsible parties that sold Multi-purpose Lubricant into California in 2016 and is due by March 31, 2017. Any formulator that formulates a Multi-purpose Lubricant for a marketer that sells into California needs to report the formula by March 31, 2017, as well. This may be difficult if the formulator is not aware of the client selling the product in California.
In this report, you must provide all R&D efforts that are ongoing to meet the future effective VOC limit of 10%, effective Dec. 31, 2018. This includes costs.